A year ago while the Boston Bruins will fighting tooth and nail to earn their first playoff berth in four years, a locker room ritual became a sensation — as after every win the player voted by his teammates to have done all the little things during the victory was awarded a white hard hat.
The player had to wear the hat throughout the postgame interviews. Who could forget the hat barely fitting on the bald dome of goaltender Alex Auld or how perfect it looked on the likes of tough guys Shawn Thornton and Milan Lucic? Until Sunday’s win over New Jersey, the Bruins’ game had been lacking in all the elements that used to earn a chance to wear the hard hat. So last week, I presented the question to a few Bruins: Is it time to bring back the hard hat?
“You’re going to have to ask the older guys,” Lucic said. “I always liked it. We had it junior, we had it a bit last year. So it’s a cool thing to have. I think the older guys have something that they might start or come up with.”
So in an effort to get an older opinion, I approached Thornton.
“I don’t think that’s the root of our problem. Obviously it was fun last year when we did that. But that was last year. If we’re going to do something, we have to come up with something different,” said Thornton.
So I set out to find out if there was something different in the Bruins’ future. Alternate captain Andrew Ference admitted he hadn’t thought about it yet. But fellow alternate captain Patrice Bergeron was a little cryptic, saying that the team would do something but it would be only in the dressing room and outside the sights of the media. Bergeron definitely has a second career in whatever the Canadian equivalent of the CIA is.
Anyway, somehow these things always manage to leak out once they start. So I’ll be sure to report on any suspicious head gear or other attire Bruins players are spotted wearing down the stretch after wins. Already the Washington Capitals have been awarding their own hard hat after wins and the Philadelphia Flyers have been awarding an ugly-colored striped hat.
In the meantime, if you have an idea for what the Bruins should use as an in-house award for hard work and grit, send it to me and I’ll be sure to pass it on.